The EESC and the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum are organising their 3rd joint seminar, on 23 November 2016, in Versailles. The objective of the seminar is to discuss topics of common interest for European and Russian civil society. On the agenda this year will be questions such as the current situation in which civil society in Russia and in the EU are operating, and questions relating to migration, specifically focusing on good practices and experiences in integrating newcomers into host societies.
The EESC's engagement with civil society organisations in Russia is governed by the five guiding principles for EU-Russia relations agreed between EU foreign ministers and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. One of these guiding principles is "support for people-to-people contacts".
Dialogue and the exchange of experiences between civil society representatives from the EU and Russia contribute in a significant way to the continued implementation of the EU-Russia Strategic Partnership. The EESC has adopted a two-stranded approach to its relations with Russian civil society in order to engage with as wide a range of civil society representatives as possible. On the one hand, it maintains relations with the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, its official Russian counterpart, and organises – amongst other things – annual joint seminars on topics of interest to civil society on both sides. The EESC's other partner is the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, which brings together a different set of civil society organisations.
The EU-Russia Follow-up Committee is an internal EESC body, which acts as a steering group, and is responsible for developing and maintaining relations and organising meetings and joint seminars with civil society in Russia.
The 7th Joint Seminar of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation (CCRF) will bring together EESC members and representatives of their Russian counterpart, representatives of the European Commission, experts and academics, to discuss cooperation in the areas of higher education and rural development. During four thematic sessions, participants will focus on EU-Russia cooperation in the fields of science, research and innovation; aligning higher education in the EU and Russia (the Bologna Process) and Erasmus+, on narrowing the gaps between rural and urban areas, and on cross-border cooperation for businesses and SMEs.
In the light of the ongoing EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is drafting an own-initiative opinion on "The position of the EESC on specific key issues of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations". In this framework, the EESC is organising a public hearing, to be held at the Committee premises on 30 June 2016, beginning at 9 a.m.
Evictions remain a serious problem across Europe and the input session will draw the attention to similarities between evictions in different kind of countries.
The session will help raise awareness of the issues, and allow for interchange between Roma organizations across Europe and is part of the continuous work of the EESC to bring attention to Roma issues. This will also be an opportunity for the EESC to deepen its work on evictions, following the showing of a film on Roma evictions in Italy ("River Memories") followed by a debate on this issue.
When it comes to Roma issues, the gender dimension has long been neglected. However, women have an essential role in Roma society and ensuring their participation is a key element in improving their situation. Romani women across Europe often face discrimination on multiple fronts: racism for being Roma, as well as gender discrimination.
It is not possible to speak about the inclusion of Roma if half of their community has little or no opportunity to express their needs and make their voice heard. Roma inclusion policy needs Roma women activists and advocates. The gender dimension can also play an important role in the success of National Roma Integration Strategies (NRISs).
The 2nd meeting of the EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform took place on 11 February 2016 in EESC premises in Brussels. During the meeting, a debate was held assessing the state of play in the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and two reports, prepared by both sides, were discussed and adopted – on energy policy and on the rule of law, with a focus on fight against corruption. A Joint Declaration was adopted at the end of the meeting to be forwarded to the EU-Ukraine Association Council, the Association Committee, the Parliamentary Association Committee and other relevant bodies both in Ukraine as well as in the EU.
Presentation on the occasion of the EESC conference on Eradicating domestic violence, 21 Sep 2012, Brussels
The 2014 edition of the Your Europe, Your Say event by the European Economic and Social Committee brought groups of 16 and 17 year-olds from all 28 Member States to Brussels. Their main objective was to set five priorities for what Europe should do to become a better place and be more relevant to its citizens.